As fall sports come to a close, postseason awards are given in order to recognize players around the country, to honor their hard work. While there are many in-house awards given to exceptional Vikings every year, some are recognized by a larger community than just Portland State. For the football team, three players earned All-American Honors and even led the nation in some statistical categories.
Kyle Loomis, a punter for PSU, was named first-team All-American by both the Walter Camp Football Foundation and The Associated Press, and second-team All-American by The Sports Network. Running back DJ Adams earned third-team All-American honors from AP and The Sports Network, and offensive tackle Mitchell Van Dyk was selected as a third-team All-American by The Sports Network.
As a senior running back from Atlanta, Ga., Adams helped create one of the greatest rushing seasons in PSU’s history. After running for 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns on 256 carries for the season, his rushing total ranked him fourth nationally. His season touchdown total ranks third all-time in PSU history.
Van Dyk, a right tackle from Paso Robles, Calif., was a three-year starter on the Viking offensive line. He was part of the group that cleared the way for the Viking offense to post school records of 6,486 total yards, 3,330 rushing yards, a 277.7 rushing average, 540.5 total offense average and 36 rushing touchdowns. PSU was ranked third in the nation in total offense and rushing offense this season, and Van Dyk and his fellow teammates have also been among the nation’s leaders in fewest sacks allowed over the last three seasons.
Loomis ended up earning several All-American awards for his amazing work this season. He led the nation in punting for 2013, with a 46.5 average. However, the surprise of this success is that prior to him playing this season, he hadn’t played football for almost seven years. This disappearance from college football occurred due to a four-year deployment with the military. However, it seems like even that much time away from the game couldn’t keep him from having an amazing season.
He played as a punter for Oregon State University back in 2006, but decided to leave school. After a few years he enlisted in the Army and was honorably discharged in 2011. He returned home to Roseburg, Ore., and decided to help his local high school team’s punter. In the process, he found that he could still punt and wanted to get back into the game. He had already considered enrolling at PSU to earn a degree, but when he called coach Nigel Burton to see if there was still time to put him on the team, the coach couldn’t get him signed up fast enough.
After the season was over, Loomis was named first-team All-Big Sky Conference and PSU’s Special Teams Player of the Year. He has already been named first-team All-America by media outlets College Sports Madness and the Beyond Sports Network. At the time of this article, there are still other awards that he is absolutely qualified for and is likely to receive.
Although Loomis may have stolen the awards show this season, both Van Dyk and Adams—and the entire team for that matter—played a season that is sure to go down in PSU history as one of the best in terms of its players. With PSU President Wim Wiewel’s recent announcement that the program has to become self-supporting, student fans are going to have to step up their involvement in order to keep such amazing players coming to PSU, and to even keep games going at all. The Vanguard is currently waiting to interview President Wiewel and the athletic department to find out how the team will realize that goal, and we will have their answers for you in next week’s issue.